Your Freshman on Varsity
By: Brittany Gonzales, B.S., C.S.C.S.
Most Athletes tell me: “Coach Brittany, I want to make the Varsity team as a Freshman.” On the other hand, parents may say “Coach Brittany, I don’t mind if my athlete makes the Frosh/Soph team or Junior Varsity team first. I don’t want them to get killed by those big girls on the Varsity team.”
With my own experience as the only Freshman on the Varsity team, I know the good and bad that come with earning that position.
First of all, the Varsity teams I have seen with Freshman on their team have more than 1 Freshman on the team. This helps the Freshman bond and not feel alone against the upper classmen or their Freshman peers that did not make the team. While getting my own U.S. Soccer coaching license, I learned that the Soccer Federation is in full support of having coaches place more than one Freshman on the Varsity team (I wish coaches did that back when I played.) This helps the Freshmen tremendously with their first year in high school and socially with the team and their peers.
Second, if I have an athlete that trains with me for their entire 8th grade year, I will know if they could handle the Varsity team or not. Most of the athletes can as long as they place their training for their body as a top priority, mentally and physically. Yes, the girls in high school could be bigger, stronger, and faster than your incoming Freshman athlete. However, with the amount of speed, power, strength, coordination, and cutting training they will receive, the athlete will adjust better to the Varsity level than a fellow peer that does not attend any extra training outside of their team.
Third, the mental component plays a huge part in every athlete’s game. If an athlete is small, then they should be quicker than a much taller athlete. Their quickness will allow them to get around the larger players and be effective with the ball on the ground. Although heading may not be their strength against a taller player, just going up for the ball on a header is enough to cause the taller athlete to miss the ball. I have even seen shorter players out-jump taller players because they have more power from training. So when it comes time for a Freshman to take a chance at a Varsity spot, if the athlete feels 100% confident of their physical and mental ability, then they are probably ready for that next step.
Fourth, the more years you have on the Varsity roster, watching the games, playing in them, the quicker you will pick up on what it takes to perform at a faster pace. For an athlete looking to play in college, this will happen again for them in their Freshman year of College. Not every athlete is prepared to play on the Varsity team in their Freshman year. However, if they put in the time to train the year before, and they have mentally committed themselves to their goals, then they should fight for the spot to be on Varsity.